The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013 was awarded to
- Martin Karplus, Université de Strasbourg, France, and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA,
- Michael Levitt, Stanford University, Los Angeles, CA, USA,
- Arieh Warshel, University of Southern California (USC), CA, USA,
“for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems”.
In the 1970s, they laid the foundation for the powerful programs that are now used to understand and predict chemical processes. Today, computer models mirroring real life have become crucial for most advances made in chemistry.
Martin Karplus, born 1930 in Vienna, Austria, obtained a B.A. degree from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, in 1950. He received his Ph.D. in 1953 from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA, for research carried out under the supervision of Linus Pauling. From 1953 until 1955 he worked with Charles Coulson as a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University, UK. Since 1955 he has held positions at the Universities of Illinois, Columbia, and Harvard, all USA. Karplus is currently the Professeur Conventionné at Université de Strasbourg, France, and the Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Karplus’ research is focused on understanding the electronic structure, geometry, and dynamics of molecules of chemical and biological interest.
Michael Levitt, born 1947 in Pretoria, South Africa, gained his BcS in physics from King’s College London, UK, in 1967 and his Ph.D. in Computational Biology from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, UK, in 1972. After working as an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellow with Shneior Lifson, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, he moved back to the UK where he was a Staff Scientist at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, from 1974 until 1979. Since 1987, Levitt is Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford University, CA, USA.
Levitt is best known for his molecular dynamics simulations of DNA and proteins and the development of the first software for this. More recently, he developed approaches to predict macromolecular structures.
Arieh Warshel, born 1940 in Kibbutz Sde Nahum, Israel, received his B.Sc. degree in Chemistry with Summa Cum Laude from Technion, Haifa, Israel, in 1966. He earned both, a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemical Physics in 1967 and 1969, respectively, with Shneior Lifson, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Warshel did postdoctoral work at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. From 1972 to 1976 he returned to the Weizmann Institute and worked for the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK. In 1976 he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at University of Southern California (USC) where he is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Warshel is best known for his work on computational biochemistry and biophysics, in particular for pioneering computer simulations of the functions of biological systems, and for developing what is known today as Computational Enzymology.
Arieh Warshel has received many awards including the 1993 Annual Award of the International Society of Quantum Biology and Pharmacology, the 2003 Tolman Medal, the 2006 President’s award for computational biology from the ISQBP, and the 2012 RSC Soft Matter and Biophysical Chemistry Award.
Papers by Martin Karplus:
- Protein Folding: A Perspective from Theory and Experiment,
Christopher M. Dobson, Andrej Šali, Martin Karplus,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 1998, 37 (7), 868–893.
- The crystallographic structure of the aldose reductase–IDD552 complex shows direct proton donation from tyrosine 48,
Federico Ruiz, Isabelle Hazemann, Andre Mitschler, Andrzejj Joachimiak, Thomas Schneider, Martin Karplus, Alberto Podjarny,
Acta Crystallogr. Sect. D 2004, 60, 1347–1354.
- Asymmetric Synthesis of Pochonin E and F, Revision of Their Proposed Structure, and Their Conversion to Potent Hsp90 Inhibitors,
Ganesan Karthikeyan, Claudio Zambaldo, Sofia Barluenga, Vincent Zoete, Martin Karplus, Nicolas Winssinger,
Chem. Eur. J. 2012, 18, 8978–8986.
Book Chapters by Martin Karplus:
- CHARMM: The Energy Function and Its Parameterization,
Alexander D. MacKerell, Bernard Brooks, Charles L. Brooks, Lennart Nilsson, Benoit Roux, Youngdo Won, Martin Karplus,
Encyclopedia of Computational Chemistry 2002.
In February 2010 the Journal of Molecular Recognition published a Special Issue dedicated to Martin Karplus.
The issue focussed on the dynamics of molecular recognition processes, showing strategies how to move from a static model to a dynamic one.
In an introductory article Martin Karplus gives a survey on the importance of looking at the dynamic aspects of dynamic molecular recognition.
The full range of Professor Karplus’ work published by Wiley can be found on Wiley Online Library.
Papers by Michael Levitt:
- Ab initio protein structure prediction using a combined hierarchical approach,
Ram Samudrala, Yu Xia, Enoch Huang, Michael Levitt,
Proteins Struct. Func. Bioinf. 1999, 37 (S3), 194–198.
- Simulating the minimum core for hydrophobic collapse in globular proteins,
Jerry Tsai, Mark Gerstein, Michael Levitt,
Protein Sci. 1997, 6 (12), 2606–2616.
- Computer graphics in real-time docking with energy calculation and minimization,
N. Pattabiraman, M. Levitt, T. E. Ferrin, R. Langridge,
J. Comput. Chem. 1985, 6 (5), 432–436.
- Folding of Nucleic Acids,
G. E. W. Wolstenholme, Maeve O’Connor,
Ciba Foundation Symposium 7 – Polymerization in Biological Systems 1972, 147–171.
The full range of Professor Levitt’s work published by Wiley can be found on Wiley Online Library.
Papers by Ariel Warshel:
- Incorporation of inter- and intramolecular forces in the calculation of crystal packing and lattice vibrations,
E. Huler, A. Warshel,
Acta Crystallogr. Sect. B 1974, 30 (7), 1822–1826.
- Simulations of ion current in realistic models of ion channels: The KcsA potassium channel,
A. Burykin, C. N. Schutz, J. Villá and A. Warshel,
Proteins Struct. Func. Bioinf. 2002, 47 (3), 265–280.
- Multiscale simulations of protein landscapes: Using coarse-grained models as reference potentials to full explicit models,
Benjamin M. Messer, Maite Roca, Zhen T. Chu, Spyridon Vicatos, Alexandra Vardi Kilshtain, Arieh Warshel,
Proteins Struct. Func. Bioinf. 2010, 78, 1212–1227.
- The empirical valence bond model: theory and applications,
Shina C. L. Kamerlin, Arieh Warshel,
WIREs Comput. Mol. Sci. 2011.
- Towards Quantitative Computer-Aided Studies of Enzymatic Enantioselectivity: The Case of Candida antarctica
Maria P. Frushicheva, Arieh Warshel,
ChemBioChem, 2012, 13, 215–223.
- Are Mixed Explicit/Implicit Solvation Models Reliable for Studying Phosphate Hydrolysis? A Comparative Study of Continuum, Explicit and Mixed Solvation Models,
Shina C. L. Kamerlin, Maciej Haranczyk, Arieh Warshel,
ChemPhysChem 2009, 10, 1125–1134.
- Associative Versus Dissociative Mechanisms of Phosphate Monoester Hydrolysis: On the Interpretation of Activation Entropies,
Shina C. L. Kamerlin, Jan Florián, Arieh Warshel,
ChemPhysChem 2008, 9, 1767–1773.
Book chapters by Ariel Warshel:
- Computer Simulation of Biological Molecules,
Encyclopedia of Molecular Biology 2002.
- The Empirical Valence Bond (EVB) Method,
Arieh Warshel, Jan Florián,
Encyclopedia of Computational Chemistry 2004.
The full range of Professor Warshel’ work published by Wiley can be found on Wiley Online Library.
Also of interest:
- Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2013
James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, and Thomas C. Südhof have been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize
- Nobel Prize in Physics 2013
Francois Englert, University Libre de Bruxelles, and Peter W. Higgs, University of Edinburgh, have been awarded
- Nobel Peace Prize 2013
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been awarded for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons